EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Erick Green is one of the more interesting prospects in Thursday’s draft. He led the nation in scoring, but did so for a team — Virginia Tech — that went 13-19.
Of course, he also did it in the ACC. In fact, he was the first ACC player to lead the country in scoring since 1957. He scored 47 points on 16-for-26 shooting in two games against Duke and 46 points on 17-for-33 shooting in two games against Miami. Oklahoma State had the nation’s No. 11 defense according to kenpom.com, and Green scored 28 points in just 26 minutes and on just 10 shots in a win over the Cowboys.
Those numbers are fairly typical of what Green produced on a nightly basis. He wasn’t a “volume scorer” by any means. Instead, he was rather efficient, with an effective field goal percentage of 53.0 percent and a true shooting percentage of 60.0 percent, on par with NBA free throw leader James Harden. If you can get to the line like Green does (8.3 attempts per game), you can withstand an off shooting night.
Effective field goal percentage = (FGM + (0.5*3PM)) / FGA
True shooting percentage = PTS / (2 * (FGA + (0.44*FTA)))
But Green is only 6-foot-3 and size matters in the NBA, where shooting guards can be 6-foot-6 or 6-foot-7. Green’s main objective in Draft workouts has proving his skills go beyond the 25.0 points he averaged and that coaches can trust him to run an offense.
“I got a chance to show people that I’m not just a scorer,” Green said of his workout for the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, “that I can do other things, pass the ball, make plays for others. And I thought I showed some athletic ability out here.”
His perceived status as a shooting guard in a point guard’s body is not the only thing holding Green back. He’s also a 22-year-old senior and not a 19-year-old freshman, with more polish than potential. So he’s projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick by most experts. Our Scott Howard-Cooper has Green at No. 43 to the Bucks in his latest mock draft, and David Aldridge doesn’t have him in the first round either. DraftExpress is relatively optimistic on Green’s prospects, projecting him as the first pick of the second round.
Still, the Nets, who hold the 22nd pick in the Draft, had Green in for a workout against Tim Hardaway Jr., who is projected by most to go in the first round. Five other teams with picks in the late first round — Utah (21), the Clippers (25), Minnesota (26), Denver (27) and Phoenix (30) — have also had Green in for workouts. The positive aspect of being 22 years old is that good teams are looking for guys who can contribute right away.
There’s a huge difference between getting your name called by Commissioner David Stern in the first round and having it called by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver in the second round. First-round selections get at least two years of guaranteed money, but after those top 30 picks, you may be fighting for a job in training camp.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen on Draft night,” said Green. “Just having my name get called is a true blessing.”
Green doesn’t lack confidence though. He put in the work to get where he is and he believes teams will recognize just what he accomplished last season.
“To put up 25 in the ACC, that’s pretty hard to do on every given night,” Green said. “I went out there and did things a lot of people couldn’t do. I think people will take that into consideration.”